Since my boyfriend had not seen it, and he’s a self-professed Isabella Rosellini lover, I determined that I must rent “Big Night” for a date night. If you’ve seen it, you know it’s torture to watch it on an empty stomach; if you haven’t, plan on making some Italian food with your sweetie and curling up for a charming story with a lot of heart.
For me, lasagna is one of the loveliest of foods . . . it’s a pleasure to make, from the rich tomato sauce to the cheese mixture and the layering that builds up the anticipation of all that saucy, cheesy, pasta-ey goodness.
The original recipe included 1 1/2 pounds of sweet Italian turkey sausage, which I replaced with 10 ounces of sliced crimini mushrooms and 12 ounces of fresh broccoli florets with stems removed.
Ina Garten’s Lasagna (adapted)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 10 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 12 ounces fresh broccoli florets, stemmed
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 t. (+ more to taste) crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for sprinkling
- 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the mushrooms and broccoli and cook over medium-low heat for about 8 until broccoli is bright green.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, the basil, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.
Umm. Sorry. We ate it before I remembered to take a picture of it baked. Yep, it’s seriously that yummy.
Lasagna recipes are endlessly varied. See cookrookery’s own Chris Baldwin’s mom’s lasagna, too!